LOUISA – THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MRS. ADAMS – by Louisa Thomas

PENGUIN PRESS, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE,

PENGUIN PUBLISHING GROUP.

9781594204630

PENGUIN PRESS

“Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams” is about Louisa Catherine Adams, the British-born American wife of the sixth President of the United States of America, John Quincy Adams (1825 to 1829).

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams was born in London, England on February 12, 1775, to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War. When she died on May 15, 1852, she had witnessed some of the greatest transformations of her time.

Louisa was smart and intelligent, outspoken and extremely well-read. She was an avid reader of the Bible; Plutarch, Milton, Pope, Dryden, Shakespeare, Dickens; Voltaire and Molière in French; newspapers, literary journals, novels, travelogues and histories. She was a prolific writer, writing diaries, two autobiographies, and letters to her family, commenting on political developments. It is extremely significant that her father-in-law, John Adams paid a glowing tribute to her, “Your journal is a kind of necessary of life to me. I long for it the whole week.”)

This is an illuminating biography of a woman who played a profound role in American history. As the wife of John Quincy Adams, Minister to Great Britain, Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. President, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, her story is as interesting as her husband’s own – at times even more so, as she often had to act on her own and on her husband’s behalf, shedding light on American political life through her astute, spontaneous observations.

Louisa saw more of the two continents of Europe and America than almost any other woman of her age and time. But irrespective of where she lived, she forever pressed her nose against the glass, unsure of herself,  and whether she actually looked in or out. Louisa had to invent her own identity and forge a sense of self. As America found its rightful place in the world, she found a voice for herself which still resonates, loud and clear. In this inspiring biography, Louisa’s extraordinary life is given its rightful due.

An intimate portrait of a remarkably strong-willed woman at a pivotal moment in history, this is a masterful work and a detailed, authoritative book. Louisa leaps to life on the page, observant, strong, compassionate and human. This is an insightful, compassionate portrait of a vibrant, strong-willed woman, an avid writer, and a clever political personality. “Louisa” is an authentic biography that paints a charming, vivid portrait of the sixth First Lady of the United States.

In this inspiring historical biography, Louisa Thomas successfully gives Louisa Catherine Adams her own voice. Great writing is an educative journey into the historic past, into the beating heart and living soul of a country discovering itself and who it really was. This is a biographical and historical narrative of the life of Louisa Adams; Louisa Thomas gives that life of long ago a living heart, and springs the real Louisa to life. This is a fascinating portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, a complex and enigmatic woman and the extraordinary era in which she lived.

Miriam Jacob

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